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Grass-roots leaders join call for ‘disrupting’ oppression that hurts many – Catholic News Service

MODESTO, Calif. (CNS) — Affirming that all human life is sacred and all people are “protagonists of their future,” more than 600 grass-roots leaders echoed the call of a U.S. bishop to disrupt practices that cause oppression and violate human dignity.

The leaders attending the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements concluded the four-day meeting Feb. 19 saying in a final message that a “small elite is growing wealthy and powerful off the suffering of our families.”

“Racism and white supremacy are America’s original sins. They (the elites) continue to justify a system of unregulated capitalism that idolizes wealth accumulation over human needs,” said the “Message from Modesto.”

The message broadly echoed Pope Francis’ regular critiques of the world economy in which he has said the accumulation of wealth by a few people has harmed the dignity of millions of people in the human family.

The representatives from dozens of faith-based and secular community organizations, labor unions and Catholic dioceses representing an estimated 1 million people called for eight actions to be undertaken. The actions included inviting faith communities, including every Catholic parish, to declare their sites a sanctuary for people facing deportation by the U.S. government; developing local leadership to hold elected officials accountable and, when possible to recruit grass-roots leaders to seek elected office; and a global week of action May 1-7 in which people “stand together against hatred and attacks on families.”

“There’s too many leaders in this room not to mobilize,” Takia Yates-Binford of East St. Louis, Illinois, who represented the Service Employees International Union, said as the meeting ended.

The delegates called for “bold prophetic leadership” from faith communities to speak and act in solidarity with citizens on the margins of society. Participants in plenary sessions and small-group discussions challenged clergy, including the Catholic hierarchy, to be in the forefront of movements to seek justice on social issues for people outside of mainstream society.

In their message, delegates said they wanted to see the seeds planted in Modesto blossom across the country in statewide and regional gatherings to bring the vision of the four meetings of popular movements held to date and the pope’s message of hope and courage to every U.S. community.

The final message reflected the words of Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego, whose stirring presentation a day earlier invited people to follow the example of President Donald Trump, who campaigned as the candidate of “disruption.”

“Well now, we must all become disruptors,” Bishop McElroy told the delegates Feb. 18 to sustained applause. “We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need.

“We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men and women as a source of fear rather than as children of God. We must disrupt those who would take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.”

At the same time, Bishop McElroy said, people of faith must rebuild society based on justice for everyone.

“We have to rebuild this nation so that we place at its heart the service of the dignity of the human person and assert what that flag behind us asserts is our heritage: Every man, woman and child is equal in this nation and called to be equal,” he said.

Bishop McElroy’s words in a plenary session on labor and housing followed a video greeting from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, in which he said the concentration of wealth and political power in the country “threatens to undermine the health of our democracy.”

As families cope with economic stress and feel no elected official at any level of government cares about their plight, people tend to withdraw from civic participation and effectively disenfranchise themselves, leaving special interest groups, lobbyists and “even demagogues” to fill the void, Cardinal Tobin said.

Such a situation has given rise to populist and nationalist sentiments in the U.S. under which the blame for the economic struggles of some are placed on today’s “scapegoats” including immigrants, Muslims and young people of color, he said, rather than toward the architects of what the pope has called the economy of exclusion. The rising fear and anxiety among people in the dominant culture has given rise to “the sins of racism and xenophobia,” he said.

Cardinal Tobin used Pope Francis’ calls for encounter and dialogue as necessary steps to overcome fear, alienation and indifference. “Encounter and dialogue create the capacity for solidarity and accompaniment,” he said.

“It is our responsibility to respond to the pain and anxiety of our brothers and sisters. As popular movements, your role is to knit together strong communal networks that can gather up the experiences and suffering and aspiration of the people and push for structural changes that affirm the dignity and value of every child of God,” Cardinal Tobin said.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, told the gathering as the final message was adopted that the church was “here to accompany you and support you all.”

“The Catholic Church believes that the joys and the hope, the grief and the anguish of people of our time, especially those who are poor or who are isolated, these also are the joys and the hope and the grief and the anguish of the followers of Christ,” Cardinal Turkson said.

Meeting organizers, which included the PICO National Network of congregation-based organizations and the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development, planned to send the message and a comprehensive report on the proceedings to the pope and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development co-sponsored the gathering.

The U.S. gathering was the first regional meeting in a series encouraged by Pope Francis to bring people working to improve poor and struggling communities around the world through organizing initiatives, prayer and social action. Three previous meetings since 2014 — two in Rome and one in Bolivia — have focused on land, labor and housing. The U.S. meeting added immigration and racism to the topics being discussed.

Along with the grass-roots volunteer leaders and professional organizers, 25 prelates attended the California meeting and several addressed the plenary sessions including Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, on immigration, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, on racism, and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, on the environment.

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Editor’s Note: The full Message from Modesto can be read online at http://popularmovements.org/news/message-from-modesto.

– – –

Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski.

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Grass-roots leaders join call for ‘disrupting’ oppression that hurts many – Catholic News Service

Stephen Miller was no hero fighting left-wing oppression at Santa … – Los Angeles Times

Stephen Miller would eagerly tell you hes from a liberal paradise, and Id have to agree with him. Growing up in Los Angeles, I have always noticed my views on gun control and womens rights rarely provoked a challenge. Locally, I have been represented by women and minorities in Congress and on my City Council.

Comfortable as I am with my hometowns reputation, I came away from reading The Times piece last month on President Trumps thirtysomething advisor with a bad taste in my mouth. Miller a 2003 graduate of Santa Monica High School, where I am a senior comes across as a heroic figure, a conservative treading water in a sea of overwhelming liberalism. Readers could be forgiven for believing the rest of Santa Monica High Schools student body to be a bunch of too-cool-for-school sensitive progressives whose only goals are to promote their agendas and vanquish the opposition.

I wont pretend that Im not living in a bubble. Nor will I pretend there are people in my community and in my school who would rather not hear the opinions of the other side. However, I have come to know Santa Monica High School as a place where activism thrives, where people are encouraged to share their beliefs and fight for them. The walls of my classrooms are not lined with partisan, lovey-dovey shrines to Barack Obama; rather, they display rousing reminders to do the right thing even if youre the only one saying anything, including quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. that transcend partisanship.

Conservatives in Santa Monica are in the minority, but they are generally argued against, not bullied into silence. Miller wouldhave us believe something else, and readers of The Times article might sympathize with him.Our school is portrayed as a culturally sensitive environment filled with unpatriotic students who slouched in their chairs while Miller valiantly recited the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. I dont recite the pledge every morning, but I do not sneer any anyone who does.

Incredibly, Miller describes his years at Santa Monica High as having presented challenges that were some of the toughest I faced in life.

What about the challenges that Latino and black peers of Millerfaced because of his denial of the existence of institutional racism, outlined in opinion articles he wrote for Frontpage Magazine? Or the challenges of students involved in Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanode Aztlan, or MEChA, an organization designed to help Chicano students become educated and politically active, who were characterized by Miller in another one of his articles as members of a radical national Hispanic group that believes in racial superiority and returning the southwestern United States to Mexico to create a bronze nation? Or the challenges faced by Muslim students who had to deal with a classmate who penned an article titled A Time to Kill about his support for the Iraq war and responding violently to Islamic radicalism? What about my economics teacher, a woman who taught Miller government and was falsely accused by him in a radio interview of disparaging the founding fathers and the Constitution, resulting in threats to her safety?

The communities that suffered the ill effects of Millers bombast receive only passing mentionin The Times piece, but theres plenty to suggest that Miller really showed us precious snowflakes.

Furthermore, the piece gets a few basic things wrong about Santa Monica, among them being its reference to the city as a liberal enclave. An enclave of where? Los Angeles, one of the most progressive cities and counties in the country? California, a state where Hillary Clinton receivedupward of 4 million more votes than Trump?

What about the description of Santa Monica before 2000 as being a laid-back coastal community of rundown rent-controlled apartments that suffered from entrenched working-class poverty and on-again, off-again gang violence, while also describing us as a town of wealthy elites? The era of run-down buildings and rampant crime passed long before Miller was in high school. Miller surely did not come of age on the hard, mean streets of Santa Monica because those hard, mean streets had mostly changed by the time he was a toddler.

To some, my responsefits in with the behavior of a whiny, sensitive liberal, the kind of Santa Monica progressive Miller loved to annoy. But Im only doing what Santa Monica High teaches students to do, especially when a misleading article in The Times portrays us in an unflattering light: standing up for what I believe is right.

Raffaella Gumbel is a senior at Santa Monica High School. This piece was adapted from a previously published article in the schools student newspaper, the Samohi.

This piece is part of Blowback, our online forum for rebuttals to The Times. If you would like to write a full-length response to a recent Times article, editorial or Op-Ed and would like to participate in Blowback, here are ourFAQs and submission policy.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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Stephen Miller was no hero fighting left-wing oppression at Santa … – Los Angeles Times

Online activism is leading the fight against oppression but at what cost? – Asian Correspondent

The yellow-clad participants of Bersih 5 carrying banners and placards during their march in Kuala Lumpur. Source: Reuters.

TOXIC political rhetoric is stirring up violence and dragging much of the worldinto a dark age of human rights, Amnesty International (AI) warned in its annual reportreleased Wednesday.

And with the voice of the oppressed struggling to be heard, it is online activism and social media movements that are rising up to fight against the oppression.

But at what cost?

The reportgives a fairly damning assessment of the state of human rights across the globe, stating that 2016 saw the idea of human dignity and equality, the very notion of a human family, coming under vigorous and relentless assault from powerful narratives of blame, fear and scapegoating, propagated by those who sought to take or cling on to power at almost any cost.

The report, which delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in 159 countries, shows how divisive fear-mongering is having an increasingly pervasive impact in societies. It alsohighlights how world leaders are rolling back human rights protections and pursuing narrow self-interest, replacing multilateralism with a more aggressive, confrontational world order.

SEE ALSO:Understanding Thailands revised Computer Crime Act

But it is not all bleak. AI also noted how fierce repression had inspired courage and resistance around the world, and Asia-Pacific specifically.

Young people were increasingly determined to speak out for their and others rights. Online technologies and social media offered expanded opportunities to share information, expose injustices, to organise and advocate, the report said.

With the proliferation of the Internet and social media throughout a lot of Asia, people have been provided a platform from which their voices can be heard and movements can be organised.

Asia Pacific has the worlds largest and fastest-growing internet user base.

More than 40 percent of those who live in the region have access to the Internet a number that has increased 12-fold since 2000, Victoria Kwakwa, the World Banks vice president for the East Asia Pacific Region, said at an event in 2016.

The number of Internet users in Asia-Pacific rose by 15 percent between January 2016 and January this year, to 46 percent of the total population. Meanwhile, social media use grew a significant 25 percent over the same 12-month period.

Mobile subscriptions for the region total four billion, or 96 percent of the population.

Considering these statistics, it is no wonder how much easier it has becometo organise mass social movements or to direct criticism to the eyes of those in power using web platforms. In fact, the use of social media has been a driving force in bringing people together and it is proving an incredibly powerful and effective tool in uncovering corruption and getting the message to the masses.

SEE ALSO:Burma: Fresh fears for freedom of speech under Aung San Suu Kyis administration

But it is not just the activists who have realised the powerful potential of this medium. Politicians too have recognised the ability of the social media tool to sow the seeds of discord among the people. Activists are paying a heavy price for this, AI observes.

Many governments (in the Asia-Pacific region) displayed an appalling disregard for freedom, justice and dignity. They strove to muzzle opposing voices and suppress protest and activism, including online dissent, through crackdowns, by force or cynical deployment of old and new laws, AI writes.

The report lists countless examples across Asia of activists, bloggers and commentators being incarcerated and silenced for expressing their political concerns.

In Burma,dozens of people have been investigated for online defamation under Article 66D of the 2013 Telecommunications Act, a vaguely worded law used increasingly to stifle peaceful criticism of the authorities.

Since Aung San Suu Kyis 2015 election victory, the controversial law has been used to jail at least 38 people.

In October, Hla Phone was sentenced to two years imprisonment for online defamation and incitement for criticising the former government and the Burmese army on Facebook.

Ma Chaw Sandi Htun was sentenced to six months in prison under Article 66D for posting a satirical photo on Facebook of a military officer wearing womens clothing.

Activist Patrick Kum Jaa Lee also served a six month sentence for sharing a defamatory post about Myanmars military chief.

Abuse of the law has gone so far as to include a member of the ruling party pressing charges against two villagers for insulting Suu Kyi during a night of drinking.

In Indonesia, the vague language in the 2008 Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law allows for a wide interpretation of definitions of defamation and blasphemy, and the criminalisation of expression.

As a result, writers and activists aresusceptible to prosecution for any articles deemed offensive to the government, as was seen in the case of Haris Azhar, Executive Coordinator of the human rights NGO KontraS.

Azhar was threatened by the police, the military and the National Anti-Narcotics Agency with defamation charges under the law for publishing an article on social media linking security and law enforcement officials to drug trafficking and corruption.

An activist in North Maluku, Indonesia was charged with rebellion simply for posting online a photo of a t-shirt with a caricature of the communist hammer and sickle symbol.

In Thailand, AI condemned a courts decision to uphold a 10-year sentence against social activist and former magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk. He was jailed in 2013 over two articles deemed offensive to the royal family.

Authorities in Thailand have in recent years increasingly used legislation, including the lese-majeste law, to silence peaceful dissent and jail prisoners of conscience, AI said following the ruling.

In Malaysia, pro-democracy activist Maria Chin Abdullah was detained under theSecurity Offences (Special Measures) Act, or SOSMA,after she organised a rally calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

SEE ALSO:Malaysia: Bersih 5 leader allegedly put in windowless cell, to be held 28 days

The governments deepening intolerance towards criticism and open debate across the region has given riseto a resurgence of state control and censorship, AI noted.

Dated and broad laws such as the Telecommunications Law in Burma, the Computer Crime Act in Thailand, SOSMAin Malaysia, the sedition law in India, ITE Law in Indonesia, and numerous others, are being used with increasing regularity against those who dare to raise their voice in protest.

But activists remain undeterred, constantly finding new and innovative ways to communicate their message to the masses using media and the internet.

AI highlights the case of four human rights defenders in China, a country that is notorious for increasing and systematic intimidation and harassment of activists, who were arrested for commemorating the anniversary of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The group posted an online advertisement for a popular alcohol with a label reading Remember, Eight Liquor Six Four a play on words in Chinese echoing the date of the notorious event. The advert was soon censored.

2016 continued to see a rise in such forms of online activism, according to AI, as loud and insistent demands for freedom of expression and justice, and activism and protests against violations grew.

Despite the narrowing space for civil society to raise issues deemed contentious by the authorities, peoples instincts for freedom and justice do not simply wither away, AI states, championing the role that activists have played in 2016 as courageous and labelling them the ordinary heroes standingup againstinjustice and repression.

The rights group urges ordinary people to continue this resolve into 2017, encouraging people to take a stand against dehumanisation by acting locally to recognise the equal rights of all.

Everyone can take a standto recognize the dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all, and thus lay the foundations of freedom and justice in the world. 2017 needs human rights heroes.

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Online activism is leading the fight against oppression but at what cost? – Asian Correspondent

Afro-Mexican people brought to light – The Daily Evergreen

Crystal Galvn Serrano speaks on the history of Afro-Mexicanos and the fight for black representation in Mexico.

Black history month is not just a month dedicated to the celebration of African-American history and culture, but a month for all who share African heritage throughout the world.

Crystal Galvn, an undergraduate student in the McNair Achievement Program, talked about Black History in Mexico yesterday at the African-American Student Center.

For me, its important to realize that Latinos come in different shades, Galvn said. There isnt just one type of Latino.

In Mexican history, people of African descent were forced into slavery working in sugar-cane fields. After slavery became illegal, the Mexican government seemed to forget that African people were still alive in Mexico.

Mexico created a sistema de castas, or a hierarchy of skin pigment. At the bottom of the hierarchy were the darkest skin tone variations.

Because blackness is seen at the bottom of the racial hierarchy, it has impacted resources that they have in Mexican society, Galvn said. It impacts their experiences. By society, they are told that they are ugly because they are darker complexion.

Galvn explained that a writer, Jos Vasconcelos, erased Mexican consciousness of blackness in Mexico. He wrote The Cosmic Race, in 1925 and said the only true Mexican were Spanish and those indigenous to Mexico.

This allowed Mexican society to ignore the Afro-Mexicans and give them no recognition in the Constitution of Mexico. Rafael Pruneda, retention counselor in the Chicana/o Latina/o Student Center, explains how the Mexican government sees Mexico as a whole rather than a country with individuals.

At the same time, the Mexican government recognizes them as one rather than their individuality of being Afro-Mexican, Pruneda said.

Galvn highlighted that because the existence of the Afro-Mexican communities has not been recognized by Mexico, those communities have been discriminated against and receive no benefits from the Constitution.

The constitutional rights never explicitly allow Afro-Mexicans social security, health or education rights. The government also has a history of silencing the voices of Afro-Mexicans, Galvn explained.

Afro-Mexicans were silenced to the point that they were not represented in the Mexican Population Census until 2015. There are about 1.4 million people in Mexico who identify as Afro-Mexican, according to Galvn.

Theyre deported to other countries because people dont even know they exist in Mexico, Galvn said. Because they dont have constitutional rights under the Mexican Constitution, they really cant do anything about it.

In recent years, countries all around the world have noticed the oppression of Afro-Mexicans. Because of this recognition along with the unity of the many Afro-Mexican activist groups, the Mexican government has begun to notice the voices of this silenced populace. The oppressed communities are coming out and recognizing their ancestry of black people who have been in Mexico for hundreds of years, Pruneda said.

With the mix of indigenous, black and European, you get a good blend of a variety of different ethnicities and cultures within Mexico, Pruneda said. But its really important that we stop in time and really recognize and give perspective of others individualities and reclaiming who they really are. I think thats awesome.

Galvn will speak about this topic again at 3 p.m. on Friday in the Chicana/o Latina/o Student Center.

They have their own culture and their own things that theyve inherited from their ancestors, Pruneda said. We are starting to see more through celebrations and cultures in dance, versus not recognizing it at all.

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Afro-Mexican people brought to light – The Daily Evergreen

Ureport: WAR ON DRUGS NOT ABOUT PERSONAL FIGHTS – The … – The Standard (press release)

Claims that the ongoing fight against drug abuse is aimed at harassing Opposition leaders are misleading.

The fight against drug abuse and the warlords behind the cartels has been ongoing during previous regimes and did not begin with the Jubilee regime.

The fact the Jubilee administration, under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, has taken the war a notch higher is a clear indication that they care about this country.

But some leaders have described the war as a personal vendetta.

It is clear that the crackdown against drug warlords has been fought by past regimes, including those led by retired presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki.

Personalities implicated in the drug cartels have been named and are in the public domain.

The fact that Uhuru and his deputy have in recent months made several visits to the coastal region, which is believed to be the gateway for drug dealers, is a clear indication that they are out to fight the vice.

The past cannot solve the future and credit should be given where it is due.

The fight against drugs is not the work of the Jubilee administration alone but involves a combined effort of leaders and individuals who mean well for the country.

Zero tolerance to drugs requires the support of all. It is not about politics and witch-hunting but what is good for society, especially youths, who are the most affected.

Past leaders, including former vice president, the late George Saitoti, played their role and the current administration is also keen to achieve its mandate of not only ensuring that the country is drug-free but also that poverty is eradicated as it is underlying factor for drug abuse.

What is required in the ongoing war against drugs is constructive criticism rather than personal vendettas against the Jubilee leaders.

This is a citizen journalism website. The views expressed here do not represent that of the Standard Group Ltd. Read the terms and conditions

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Ureport: WAR ON DRUGS NOT ABOUT PERSONAL FIGHTS – The … – The Standard (press release)

Shots fired in war on drugs – Commonwealth Journal’s History

Local law enforcement capped a particularly busy few days with a round up aimed at some 30 suspected drug traffickers.

Officers from various agencies divided into teams and fanned out across the county early Tuesday morning to serve both grand jury indictments and district court warrants pertaining to a variety drug offenses. The majority of offenses were for Trafficking in Controlled Substances including heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone, methadone, suboxone and hydrocodone.

Pulaski County Sheriff Greg Speck noted that officers dont find many meth labs anymore with passage of legislation that makes it more difficult to obtain some of the precursors but that crystal meth is still being transported in mainly from Mexico.

If we keep doing this, hopefully, theyll get the message, Sheriff Speck said of the roundups deterring the local drug trade. He also expressed a hope that staying vigilant can prevent overdose increases locally as has been reported recently in Madison and Jefferson counties.

More than half of the suspects being sought were arrested during the roundup and processed at the Hal Rogers Fire Training Center before being lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center by deputy jailers. They include:

Kenneth Gill, 35, Tateville first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (Methamphetamine) (Indictment)

Paige Flynn, 49, Bronston first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Indictment)

Barry Bray, 37, Burnside first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense Drug (unspecified) (Arrested)

Jerry Phillips, 61, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (Indictment)

Brenda Sammons, 45, Science Hill first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (unspecified) (Arrested)

Chelsea McGowan, 26, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense

Jason Lewis, 34, Burnside first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested)

Theresa Sweeney, 48, Burnside second-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (drug unspecified) (Arrested)

David Mahaffey, 43, Nancy second-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (drug unspecified) (3 Counts) (Arrested)

Jesse Morgan, 38, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested)

Shannon Lockard, 42, Bronston first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested)

Kensey Jones, 25, Monticello first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (heroin) (Arrested)

Robert Coffey, 34, Nancy first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (heroin) (Arrested)

Greg Marlow, 56, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (3 Counts) (Arrested)

Cheri Wilson, 42, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (drug unspecified) (Arrested)

Joseph Meeks, 28, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested).

Two other arrests were made that were not part of the initial roundup list. Samantha Henson, 47, of Somerset, was charged with Violation of Condition of Release. Joshua Wilson, 29, of Somerset, was charged with Failure to Appear.

Sheriff Speck anticipates more arrests will come within the next 48 hours.

PCSO was assisted by several law enforcement agencies including the Somerset Police Department, the Kentucky State Police, the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force, the Burnside Police Department, the Ferguson Police Department, the Eubank Police Department, the Science Hill Police Department, and 1st District Constable, Danny Weddle.

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Shots fired in war on drugs – Commonwealth Journal’s History

War on drugs: a failing battle against suffering – The Suffolk Journal

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For those of us seriously concerned with the ever-failing war on drugs, Donalds Trumps presidency is proving to be as regressive on social and public health reforms as anyone thought, having taken the wrong step on yet another key issue.

Earlier this month, Trump passed three executive orders related to crime and justice, which bring to mind images of the Nixon and Reagan administrations deeply misguided rhetoric about drugs in this country. The outcomes of those policies were overpopulated prisons, racial discrimination, and most ironically no decrease in our countrys drug problems. Trump seems to be under the impression that by taking a tougher stance on drugs which is precisely what led to our mess in the first place he can win a war that nobody else could until now.

If there was anything to feel at ease about during Trumps campaign, it was his uncharacteristic sensibility on certain drug-related issues. Unfortunately, his very characteristic dishonesty that is driving his actual actions. His campaign touted leaving marijuana laws up to the states, focusing on treatment for drug users, and increasing access to overdose reversal medicine. Unsurprisingly, the executive orders made no mention of any of these campaign promises. In fact, the slow but visible progress made under the Obama administration in reversing some of the damage done by decades of failing policy is soon to be lost.

It has become increasingly clear that our current criminal justice system needs to be reformed. Our country has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and most people imprisoned for drug crimes are nonviolent offenders, not to mention disproportionately minorities. Instead of reform, these executive orders only double down on issues like police force and harsh minimum sentencing.

Trump wants to see if building a wall or other ways of getting tough on the supply-side of the illegal drug trade will improve the drug problems in America. Luckily, history has shown us whether that approach works; the experiment has already been done, and it failed by virtually every metric. It would be a shame if we didnt learn from our mistakes.

Putting all of our resources into hurting the supply will do nothing to mend the problem. People have been using drugs for thousands of years, not to mention currently legal ones such as alcohol, and there is no reason to think this demand will change. As history and basic economics have shown with alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana, and everything else: if there is a demand, someone will emerge to supply it, regardless of government efforts. A study by the British Medical Journal concluded that despite the billions of dollars spent globally on the drug war, drugs have become more widely available, cheaper, and purer.

Although it seems to make sense on the surface, the drug problem cannot be stopped by attempting to cut off the supply. Cutting off supply permanently is simply impossible. The key is to focus on the demand side, helping addicts with treatment and promoting truthful drug education and harm-reduction. Arresting and punishing drug users makes very little sense if our goal is to help them. Trumps rhetoric about drugs poisoning our youth is touching, so the question is, why does he want to put them in jail?

These actions go against the belief of public health experts, economists, and most American citizens who believed the war on drugs has failed. For a president that brags about smart people and experts, he sure doesnt seem to be listening to them.

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War on drugs: a failing battle against suffering – The Suffolk Journal

Richard Caborn: Gambling within sport a serious problem – ESPN FC

Dan Le Batard comments on Wayne Shaw’s pie-eating during Sutton’s FA Cup match against Arsenal. Wayne Shaw steals the show in the FA Cup, Conan O’Brien joins Gio dos Santos and more in The Sweeper.

Former sports minister Richard Caborn labelled gambling within sport a “serious problem” after Wayne Shaw’s pie-eating stunt in Sutton’s FA Cup clash with Arsenal.

The 46-year-old reserve goalkeeper handed in his resignation on Tuesday as he prompted a betting probe after he was shown on television tucking into the snack towards the end of the 2-0 loss.

Discussing gambling within sport on BBC Radio 5 live, Caborn said: “It is a serious problem. People are jesting about it, particularly the incident the other night, but there’s a very serious question underlying this, and the responsibility of the gambling industry itself.

“It’s not just football — we’ve seen what’s happened in cricket, in snooker. You can in many sports.

“This is an area of some concern about the integrity of sport. If we are going to see the central point, as an ex-sports minister, I would be saying, ‘The integrity of sport is absolute — it should not be compromised.’

“We’ve seen that, whether it’s been in anti-doping, now gambling — you don’t have to throw the result, but you are creating a situation which is not fair on the playing field.”

Sutton held their own against a strong Arsenal side, only for manager Paul Doswell to be left dealing with the fallout of Shaw’s antics.

The departing keeper admitted after the match he was aware Sun Bets — who also sponsored Sutton’s shirts for the night — were offering 8-1 on him to be shown eating in the dugout during the game.

Both the Football Association and Gambling Commission announced independent investigations into the stunt, which Doswell felt had taken something away from his players on the biggest night of most of their careers.

“Wayne has offered his resignation to the chairman this afternoon and that has been accepted. It’s a very sad end to what was a very good story,” he said.

“He’s absolutely devastated — tears down the phone this afternoon. There’s no joy and nothing good coming out of this particular situation for him.

“It’s taken the gloss off my players’ performance and gone on to something it shouldn’t have gone on to. I feel very sorry for the players in many regards that that spotlight has been taken away from them.

“It was an honest error but one that’s had quite sad ramifications. Wayne’s been swept along with what’s happened in this last three or four weeks.”

The FA announced on Tuesday that it will launch an inquiry to determine whether Shaw breached its gambling regulations.

There could also be fall-out for the bookmakers, with the Gambling Commission confirming its own investigation into the incident to decide whether Sun Bets had breached its licence requirement by offering such a bet in the first instance.

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Richard Caborn: Gambling within sport a serious problem – ESPN FC

Gambling Commission believes insider betting is rife within football – ESPN FC

The gambling commission believes betting breaches are widespread.

Former FIFA and Interpol adviser Chris Eaton has told BBC Sport that 53 footballers that have been reported for breaching betting rules are only “the tip of the iceberg.”

Eaton, who is now a sport integrity expert, added that only “naive or careless players” would be caught and highlighted specifically ones who use their own name and account.

BBC Sport obtained the numbers from the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) after making a Freedom of Information request.

SBIU confirmed it received 53 allegations of footballers placing bets on matches between Aug. 1, 2014 and Dec. 23, 2016, but that figure is reported to relate to uncorroborated reports rather than confirmed instances of rule breaking.

However, SBIU also confirmed more alleged breaches were being investigated as a result of its own intelligence work.

As a measure against corruption in football, new rules came into effect as of August 2014 that applied to not just players but anyone involved in football.

Wayne Shaw, who was asked to resign from his position as Sutton United goalkeeper and fitness coach, is one player currently being investigated following a potential breach of betting rules.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

Continued here:

Gambling Commission believes insider betting is rife within football – ESPN FC

Bill to raise funding for problem gambling draws no opposition – Las Vegas Review-Journal

CARSON CITY A bill that would significantly increase the amount of funding available to address problem gambling in Nevada saw no opposition Wednesday during a Senate committee hearing.

Senate Bill 120 would increase funding from the approximately $1.8 million in fiscal year 2018 in Gov. Brian Sandovals proposed 2017-19 budget to as much as $2.8 million a year.

Anthony Cabot, a member of the Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling, said the current revenue comes from a $2 fee on slot machines. But the number of machines has been declining, reducing the amount of money available for the program.

The bill would change the source of funding from the $2 per slot machine fee to a set amount of license fees that would see an annual increase for inflation.

The change would end the link to the number of slot machines and provide for a more stable funding source going forward, Cabot told the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

Sen. Tick Segerblom, one of two sponsors of the bill, said the gaming industry is supportive of the bill.

Nevada is a live and let live state but it also needs to support programs for people who suffer from addictive behaviors, he said.

There was no testimony in opposition to the bill during the hearing. No immediate action was taken on the bill.

Cabot said the original legislation approved in 2005 opted for the $2 per slot tax with the belief that the number of machines would continue to increase over time. But the number of slot machines has declined by 50,000 in that time, reducing the revenue to combat problem gambling, he said.

Slot fees from the current program are estimated at about $1.3 million a year for the coming two years.

Denise Quirk, chairwoman of the advisory committee, said the fees have been as low as $800,000 a year during lean times in Nevada.

Nevada is a leader in global gaming and the state should also be a leader in reducing problem gambling, she said. The state has the second highest incidence of problem gambling in the nation, Quirk said. An estimated 142,000 Nevada residents are problem gamblers.

The funding change would mean about $1 per capita to combat problem gambling, up from the current 60 cents, she said. Nevada is among the states with the lowest funding for such programs, with Delaware at $1.40 per capita and Oregon at $1.30, according to information provided to the committee.

The funds go to various programs administered by the state Department of Health and Human Services that address several areas, including prevention and research.

The bill also proposes to change the composition of the advisory committee to include additional professionals who can participate in the effort to combat the problem.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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Bill to raise funding for problem gambling draws no opposition – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Crown’s High-Roller Gambling Plunges Amid China Crackdown – Bloomberg

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Crown’s High-Roller Gambling Plunges Amid China Crackdown – Bloomberg

MGM Resorts will launch responsible gambling program at all its US … – Las Vegas Review-Journal

MGM Resorts International by the end of the year will introduce a new program to reinforce responsible gambling among its players in a bid to normalize the conversation about compulsive play.

The company on Wednesday is announcing a partnership with the British Columbia Lottery Corp. to license its GameSense responsible gambling program at all of MGMs U.S. properties, including its 10 Las Vegas resorts.

MGM also will donate $1 million over five years to UNLVs International Gaming Institute to conduct research on compulsive gambling using data collected through the GameSense program.

UNLV will share its findings with compulsive gambling researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University with whom UNLV has had long-term relationships.

Addiction experts say about 2.5 million gamblers suffer a compulsive gambling disorder, with 3 million more considered problem gamblers and 15 million more at risk of becoming problem gamblers. Thats about 2.9 percent of the adult gambling population, although percentages are greater in Nevada where its estimated that between 2.2 percent and 3.6 percent of players suffer some form of addiction.

DEFINING COMPULSIVE GAMBLING

Compulsive gambling is defined as having a preoccupation with gambling and the uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the negative consequences it may produce. Addicts often play to recover their losses and will lie, steal and cheat to support their habit.

When MGM was licensed to build its MGM Springfield resort, due to open next year in Springfield, Massachusetts, the states gaming regulators ordered MGM to institute GameSense at the property as a condition of licensing. When MGM reviewed the program, executives were so impressed with it that they decided to integrate it in all its U.S. locations.

Initially, MGM will set up signage and kiosks at its properties with personnel to counsel players about addictive gambling behaviors. As the program develops, MGM officials hope to integrate it into the companys mLife loyalty card program to enable players to set time and spending limits on play to alert them when they are approaching the levels they set.

The partnership announcement was scheduled to be made Wednesday afternoon at the three-day New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference in Vancouver.

OK TO STOP

Alan Feldman, executive vice president of global government and industry affairs for MGM, said the core of GameSense is reinforcing healthy gambling behavior.

If the customer believes that this program is the problem-gambling police coming to get you, theyre going to run and hide, Feldman said in a telephone interview. If the public, on the other hand, sees this as were just here to remind you that youre supposed to be having fun, it should help.

If at any moment its not fun and its not affordable, its totally OK to stop, Feldman said. Were not going to be upset. Were going to still appreciate you and value you as a customer, in fact, maybe even more because youve made that decision and good for you.

Feldman said GameSense signage and collateral material giving facts about gambling and slot machines will be available on the casino floor. He said its too early to determine how many GameSense advisers will be hired, but he added the company is planning for 24/7 coverage and the size of a casino floor may determine how many advisers there will be.

BETTER INFORMED CHOICES

For the British Columbia Lottery Corp., which operates GameSense in Canadas casinos as well as in lottery ticket sales locations, the company will receive an undisclosed licensing fee from MGM as well as a relationship with a well-known U.S. operator.

The use of the system at MGM properties should help enhance the effectiveness of the program, said Jim Lightbody, president and CEO of the British Columbia Lottery Corp.

Lightbody said the GameSense concept is to be more inviting and transparent with players to encourage them to make better informed choices when gambling.

In each of our gaming facilities we have 36 of them here in British Columbia we place GameSense information centers within the facilities and they have advisers in them. The centers are bright and attractive where people can come sit down and talk to somebody about their own behavior, or maybe a friend of theirs is having a problem or needing some counseling.

Staff members are trained to look for players who may be in distress and to counsel them about taking breaks from play if they are spending too much time or money in their play.

RESEARCH TEAM

Bo Bernhard, executive director of UNLVs International Gaming Institute, said its too early to determine what kinds of problem gambling research will emerge when a team of scholars gets access to GameSense data.

Bernhard said an interdisciplinary team will be formed with policy, regulatory, operations and addiction specialists working together with the quantitative and qualitative data UNLV expects to gather.

He said he hopes the research will better educate playing customers with information that will enable them to make better consumer decisions, much like nutrition labels that provide information on consumable products.

WYNN AND PENN

Wynn Resorts, which operates Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Encore, and Penn National Gaming, operators of the Tropicana and the M Resort in Southern Nevada, also are being licensed in Massachusetts and will be required to implement the GameSense system at their properties in Everett and Plainridge Park, respectively.

Wynn and Penn National officials did not respond to inquiries on whether GameSense would be used by them in Las Vegas.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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MGM Resorts will launch responsible gambling program at all its US … – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Champaign council taps brakes on gambling expansion – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

CHAMPAIGN After detailed discussion, the city council passed an ordinance Tuesday that will temporarily halt the installation or operation of video-gambling terminals in newly licensed liquor establishments.

The moratorium will last until June 7 and affect every kind of newly licensed establishment containing terminals.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board’s Video Gaming Report issued in January, there are 53 spots in Champaign that offer gambling including gambling parlors or cafes and 244 total terminals.

Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen said the suspension’s aim isn’t to curtail a free market. Rather, she said it’s so the council can take the time to decide if it wants to enact a gambling ordinance the city doesn’t regulate it separate from regulating alcohol and what its relationship with gambling should look like in the future. She added that the city is also in the process of revising the liquor code.

“It’s not a morality issue,” Feinen said. “We need to make a decision on how (gambling) will impact the city as a whole.”

The only council member not to vote for the ordinance was Tom Bruno, who said gambling is similar to buying a lottery ticket and that it hasn’t been identified as a cause of crime.

“I don’t want government stepping in to exercise moral judgment every time someone spends their money in a manner I wouldn’t spend mine or in a way that’s foolish and wasteful,” Bruno said.

Fellow council member Matthew Gladney said the government already regulates businesses, especially those dealing with alcohol and drugs.

Council member Greg Stock said he doesn’t think the council can definitely say that gambling isn’t linked to crime, because that’s difficult to determine.

Gambling is “particularly present in low-income areas,” Stock said. “I think that makes it borderline predatory for people in bad financial circumstances.”

Most council members who supported the ordinance said their constituents contacted them with complaints about the city’s gambling offerings.

A study session is slated for April for residents to hash out opinions and ideas on how to move forward.

“I don’t think I should tell people how to spend their money, but I also don’t want to do any harm,” said council member Clarissa Nickerson Fourman. “The amount (of gambling) doesn’t bother me; it’s the immediate access that people have to go in and feed this thing. It’s scary.”

Illinois’ Video Gaming Act, which legalized terminals in places licensed for alcohol consumption on premises, went into effect in July 2009. It allows for municipalities to ban gambling via an ordinance.

If an establishment violates the temporary moratorium, its liquor licence will immediately be suspended and subject to revocation, according to a city staff report to the council.

In other business, Feinen took time to address President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration, saying Champaign is “proud of our strong, diverse community” and encouraging residents to foster a “community free of fear and intimidation.”

In that vein, Feinen said the city partnered with the C-U Immigration Forum to provide the public education about immigrant rights and what to do if you encounter discrimination. She said the city will look to partner with other similar groups across the state. In cases of discrimination, Feinen encouraged the person affected to report it to the city’s Community Relations Office.

In addition, the council completed the last of its dealings with ex-police Officer Matt Rush by voting unanimously to settle an excessive-force lawsuit filed by Precious Jackson against him and two other officers for $250,000.

After resident complaints and accusations of displays of misconduct, Rush was fired twice by police Chief Anthony Cobb, only to have an arbitrator reverse the decision each time. The city council approved a $50,000 separation agreement in January to end Rush’s employment without further court proceedings.

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Champaign council taps brakes on gambling expansion – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

Police stance was to not answer questions over details of euthanasia checkpoint – Stuff.co.nz

TOM HUNT

Last updated14:05, February 23 2017

FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington City area commander Chris Bensemann told staff not to release information as it would lead to more questions.

Police withheld information about a controversial operationbecause it would only open them up to further questions, emails reveal.

But the stance outlined in internal emails has been defended by police, because which say revealing too much information could jeopardiseongoing inquiries or future court cases.

In late2016 Police ran Operation Painter, which saw officers visiting peoplewho had considered euthanasia.

David Mariuz

Head of Exit International Philip Nitschke says the emails show a police culture of secerecy.

It later turned out police collected the names and addresses of many of the people, largely older women, by setting up a breath-testing roadblock down the road from a HuttValley euthanasia meeting.

READ MORE: *Police admit using checkpoint to target euthanasia meeting attendees *We know where you’ve been, police tell 76-year-old who attended euthanasia meeting *Police seize voluntary euthanasia advocate’s helium balloon kit *Police door-knock elderly women who attended euthanasia meeting

Now, an Official Information Act request shows Wellington’s top police officer, Wellington City area commanderChrisBensemann,emailed his media team telling them to withhold information requested by Stuff about the operation.

Questions emailed to police in the days beforeincluded a request for comment about claims police had set up an operation, codenamed Painter, and weretargeting Exit members.

The police media team emailed Bensemannin October, asking him if he wanted to add any comment more than confirmation one woman had been charged with importing aeuthanasiadrug.

Bensemannresponded: “I don’t see any merit in providing further comment at this point in time as it will only open us up to further questions, ie, each response would just create a whole new set of questions”.

He asked to be informed if “anything comes up that you see as a risk that we may be forced to [respond] to”.

Some details of the woman facing charges were withheld due to suppression orders, police said.

A police spokeswomanon Thursday said media had an important role in informing the public and ensuring transparency.

“Equally, however, Police have a duty to investigate thoroughly and carefully, and so are at times not in a position to answer specific questions while investigations and operations are ongoing, even if that information may be considered to be speculative, as further comment may jeopardise Police’s ongoing inquiries or potential future judicial proceedings.

“These considerations therefore dictate how we respond to each request we receive. ”

Later that month Bensemann confirmed that police had used the breath-testing checkpoint to target people who had attended an Exit International euthanasia meeting.

Police referred themselves to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which is still investigating the operation.

Exit International director PhilipNitschke said the email trailshowed New Zealand police were “actively trying to dampen down public interest in their behaviour following their illegal fake road block”.

Bensemann’s instructions to provide no further comment was”particularly disappointing” and revealed “a culture of secrecy” within police, Nitschke said.

On Friday, Exit Wellington co-ordinatorSusanDaleAusten, 65, is due to appear in Wellington District Court facingone charge of importing the narcotic sedative pentobarbitone known as Nembutal between March 2012 and October 2016, and one of importing on September 30.

When she last appeared in court in October she was remanded without plea.

-Stuff

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Police stance was to not answer questions over details of euthanasia checkpoint – Stuff.co.nz

Adoption center works to reduce euthanasia – The Dominion Post

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Adoption center works to reduce euthanasia – The Dominion Post

Your tip sheet: No sanctuary – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

View Caption Hide Caption

Days remaining in the 2017 Legislative session:19

Both the House and Senate go in at 10 and the lower chamber (thats the House) has a full slate of 14 bills on itscalendar.

Among them: House Bill 37 from Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, that would cut off state funding to Georgia colleges that declare themselves sanctuary campuses that defy President Donald Trumps immigration policy. It will likely be the first bill to face serious opposition in the House this year.

The House committee schedule is comparatively light.

The Senate is tackling five bills on its floor debate calendar, including leaderships effort to boost regional transit planning in Senate Bill 6.

Transportation committees from both chambers will then meet jointly at 2 p.m. in Room 606 of CLOB to talk about transit planning efforts.

And at 2 p.m. in Room 307 of CLOB, the Senate Education and Youth Committee will look at SB 98, which would allow local school systems to tap into their capital building funds and build more pre-k classrooms across Georgia.

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The state of GA should become a sanctuary state.

Which is simply to say that we should not be using our state tax dollars to enforce federal immigration laws, nor use federal grant dollars to do the same. If the federal government wants those laws enforced then they should hire their own agents and send them down here to do the job.

But, I guess these conservatives only care about state’s rights to the extent they believe it gives them the freedom to discriminate against various minorities as opposed to protecting the People from the injustices of the federal government.

This bill was passed today, but the consequences if the bill are larger than it first appears. For instance HOPE money will be withheld from all students at any ‘sanctuary school’ (we currently DO NOT have any public schools in that category).

Why doesn’t the AJC write this as it truly is…cities and or universities that want to create their own laws and not follow federal laws? What other laws does the AJC and these enlightened thinkers believe should be ignored? Stop writing and twisting words to fit your feelings and report fairly.

@Iron Dawg

We have a system of federalism in the US that serves to protect the People from injustice at any one level of government.

Put into effect, this means that states and municipalities can refuse to enforce federal laws with which they disagree.

There is no twisting of words in this article, you just do not understand how federalism works in the US.

Your local sheriff’s department can represent the values of it’s people by refusing to enforce laws he/she disagrees with whether it be refusing to enforce federal and state marijuana laws, immigration laws, et cetera. University, while they are state institutions, do have sizable constituencies and limited resources. It is up to them to decide which laws to give enforcement priority (like violent crime) and which laws they prefer to leave unenforced (generally victimless crimes).

Destroy all sanctuary cities, counties, states, and campuses. It’s just common sense.

@someonesdad

ok. how you want to destroy them i guess is the question then. constructively or destructively . . . ? the coming wave is nothing but destruction for the brown folks you take issue with and the American economy which has come to rely upon them.

Not cities “that defy Pres. Donald Trump’s immigration policy” — cities that defy federal law.

Unless, I’m mistaken (and i admit that happens) Immigration enforcement is a Federal function under law. Cities have no legal responsibility under Federal law to aid in the enforcement. The Executive Order does not have the force of law unless sanctions are imposed for failure to follow. Cities that do not assst the enforcement of immigration enforcement violate no laws unless they obstruct that enforcement.

Of course, the gentleman from Smyrna seeks to create state sanctions, which is his right. But, then, we can disagree on what is the right course of action.

http://nydn.us/1mL25J5

@hamiltonAZ Feds have a legal obligation to help Californians that live below a dam the state did not fix years ago?

@hamiltonAZ mayors take vows only to obey city laws? not going to hold bank robbers for them?

[] visit main article []

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Your tip sheet: No sanctuary – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

Judging Milo Yiannopoulos, ft. Ayn Rand (Episode #24 of MY PODCAST) – ChicagoNow (blog)

By Steven Krage, Wednesday at 7:04 pm

The newest episode of The Objectivist and The Vegan Podcast is on the air!

In this episode, Jack (The Vegan)and Steven (The Objectivist) reassess the Objectivist view of moral judgment and apply it to the recent rise and thunderous downfall of conservative spark-plug Milo Yiannopoulos. Also: Jack hates on Perez Hilton, Steven admits to being a provocateur, and a special visit from star of stage and screen, Paul Lynde!

If you want to contact us, you can do so at our NEW EMAIL: objectivistvegan@gmail.com!

Please follow our NEW Facebook page for this blog at http://www.Facebook.com/ObjectivistVeganPodcast!

This Podcast is now available on iTunes (as well as all major Podcast apps), so please follow us there and rate and subscribe!

If you’d like to financially contribute to this podcast (and my blog) please visit http://www.Patreon.com/StevenKrage. Thank you for your generosity!

Steven’s website is http://www.stevenkrage.com and links to his books are also found on said website.

and read his blog, From the Ego of Steven, on http://www.chicagonow.com!

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Judging Milo Yiannopoulos, ft. Ayn Rand (Episode #24 of MY PODCAST) – ChicagoNow (blog)

57th District It’s the Golden rule: J. Central moves into 7th straight finals – The Independent

SALYERSVILLE Johnson Central punched its ticket to the 15th Region Tournament on Tuesday night with a 77-61 win over Paintsville in the opening round of the 57th District Tournament at the Magoffin County Fieldhouse.

The Golden Eagles, who won their 11th straight game, will play the winner of Sheldon Clark and Magoffin County on Friday for the district championship. The title game will mark the seventh straight for Central, which has won four district crowns since 2011 and is looking to win its fourth in five years.

Its a shame that either Sheldon Clark or Magoffin County will not be playing in the regional tournament, said Johnson Central coach Tommy McKenzie. Either one of those teams are good enough to win the regional tournament.

Centrals pressure defense set the tone early on. Paintsville turnovers quickly turned into easy transition baskets.

For a night that we didnt particularly shoot the ball well, we were fortunate to get some fast-break baskets, added McKenzie. Central (24-6)finished 39 percent from the floor on 26-of-67 shooting. It wasnt pretty, but it was a win.

Paintsville lost for the 11th straight time. Its a building process for Tigers coach Landon Slone, who led Paintsville (8-20) to its last 57th District title in 2008. That was the last time the Tigers played in the 15th Region Tournament.

Weve got a solid core of players, said Slone. The Tigers starting five included an eighth-grader, two freshmen, a sophomore and a senior.

Im proud of our players, and theyre going to write a new chapter in the history of our great program in time,he said.

Freshman Seth Williams had a game-high 26 points to lead the Tigers.

Johnson Central, which forced a running clock for most of the second half, had four players in double figures. Senior Cole Crace had 17 points. Senior Mason Blair followed with 12. He was issued a technical foul in the second quarter. Senior Austin Davis and sophomore Jacob Rice each finished with 10.

PAINTSVILLE 13 5 16 14 61

J. CENTRAL 28 21 15 13 77

Paintsville (61) Trent Vanover 0(2) 0-0 6; Seth Williams 4(5) 3-4 26; James Allen 0 2-2 2; Mason Moore 2(1) 2-4 9; Braxton Tharp 1 2-2 4; Ethan Hensley 1 0-0 2; Michael Prater 1(1) 2-2 5; Brandon Richmond 2 1-2 5; Ryan Moore 1 0-0 2. Totals: 11(9) 11-18 61.

Johnson Central (77) Leon Moshefy 2 2-4 6; Austin Davis 1(2) 2-2 10; Cole Crace 2(3) 4-4 17; Mason Blair 2(2) 2-3 12; Jacob Rice 2(2) 0-0 10; Caleb Price 1 0-0 2; Dalton Collins 1 1-2 3; Blake Delong 2 0-0 4; Gabe Ferrell 0(1) 0-2 3; Isaiah May 0 3-4 3; Jarrett Blair 1(1) 0-0 5; Cory VanHoose 1 0-2 2. Totals: 15(11) 16-23 77.

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57th District It’s the Golden rule: J. Central moves into 7th straight finals – The Independent

Liberal activists warn party’s lawmakers: Primaries are coming – McClatchy Washington Bureau


McClatchy Washington Bureau
Liberal activists warn party's lawmakers: Primaries are coming
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, shown speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, is among the Democrats up for re-election in 2018. Liberals warn of primary challenges if Democrats don't do their best to take on President Donald …

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Liberal activists warn party’s lawmakers: Primaries are coming – McClatchy Washington Bureau

Get Out review white liberal racism is terrifying bogeyman in sharp horror – The Guardian

A provocative, button-pushing shocker that buries itself under your skin and lingers … Daniel Kaluuya and Alison Williams in Get Out. Photograph: Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures

Theres a great, often under-appreciated, history of social commentary within the horror genre. From John Carpenters politically charged They Live to Bryan Forbes haunting adaptation of The Stepford Wives, Ira Levins icy take on the male fear of second-wave feminism, scares and satire used to arrive simultaneously. But somewhere along the way, that tradition has been jump-shocked out of its seat, popcorn flying, and replaced with vapidity, an impatient teenage audience force-fed predictable thrills over a story that might provoke or inspire debate.

Jordan Peele doesnt want to make things easy for his audience. Like the greatest sketches from his co-authored Comedy Central show Key & Peele, his new film Get Out is designed to lift the facade of post-racial America and showcase the ugliness that lies beneath. Whats quite astounding is not only how sharply he manages this but that he does so while also crafting a terrifying horror film.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is understandably nervous. His girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), is taking him home to meet her parents for the first time. Its a frightening rite of passage for anyone, but Chris has an added level of concern: hes black and shes white. Rose brushes off his worry, assuring him that he has nothing to fear and initially, it seems like shes right. Her father (Bradley Whitford) is perhaps a bit too self-consciously woke (I would have voted for Obama for a third term he insists) and her psychiatrist mother a bit too keen to hypnotize him out of his smoking habit, but theyre friendly and seemingly unperturbed by his race.

But Chris starts to feel uncomfortable. Theres something up with the other black people in the house: a rather spooked groundskeeper and maid. Why are they acting so strange? Why is Roses mother so obsessed with hypnotizing him? And why the hell are all these white people suddenly descending on the house?

While writer-director Peele could have taken the easier, oft-trodden route of exposing the racism of redneck hillbillies, hes decided to target the underlying bigotry of rich liberals instead and, in doing so, has made something fiercely original. The white people Chris encounters wouldnt consider themselves racists but name-checking Jesse Owens doesnt give one a free pass. Referring to how well-endowed Chris must be or how his genetic makeup would make him a beast in a fight arent compliments, theyre reductive and offensive stereotypes that only serve to make him feel uncomfortable and fetishized.

As these micro-incidents stack up, Chris experience becomes a microcosm of what many black people experience in the US and beyond: telling someone that theyre welcome is different from actually welcoming someone. While the mechanics of the nefarious plot thats ultimately uncovered might be a tad silly, theyre grounded by the uneasy journey that weve taken to get there. The grotesquery of the white suburbanites might seem exaggerated at times but theres an embarrassingly well-observed truth to the interactions we see and Peeles comedic background ensures that nervous laughter is never too far away.

But Peele isnt interested in purely making a point, hes also determined to make a genuinely scary horror film and doesnt disappoint. Theres a refreshing lack of tired jump scares with Peele instead utilizing a queasy atmosphere of dread and a terrifically choreographed escalation of suspense and crowd-pleasing thrills. Its an artfully framed and remarkably accomplished debut film, and Peele has carefully cast an ensemble of skilled actors who effortlessly conjure up a believably fraught dynamic. Theres a successful piece of stunt casting with Williams, a star of HBOs Girls, but her white privilege isnt over-egged and instead, her character seems even more shocked at what unfolds around them. Its in smart opposition to the British actor Kaluuya, who, in a star-making role, calmly and glumly accepts the insidious racism around him before letting rage take over.

Get Out is a provocative, button-pushing shocker that buries itself under your skin and lingers, its genre trappings serving as devious delivery for a scathing takedown of liberal white suburbia. Its rare for a studio horror film to feel this fresh and daring and its arrived at a frighteningly topical moment for a country where racism is scarier than ever.

Get Out is released in US cinemas on 24 February and in UK cinemas on 17 March

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Get Out review white liberal racism is terrifying bogeyman in sharp horror – The Guardian


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